I look at you with
my eyes becoming like doves;
the earth around me
all my possessions
burning in the fire;
my heart void;
nothing seems to work
except for your
fortress gaurding my
It’s not just a middle school phase: women and body image
How many women have I met who have unwillingly expressed to me their resentment towards their own bodies? Countless. It’s remarkable how body image is such a prevalent issue among the most confident women, including myself. I am 23 years old, turning 24 this May. And yes, I still deal with loving my body.
We are all made to be beautiful daughters of a perfect God. There is godliness in our physique and, despising our form may even distort our perception and attitude towards the beauty of God. The few weeks I over-eat and gain some weight are the moments when I am inclined to speak criticism into my heart. However, there is a spirit in me that rejects my own insults. Rather, this spirit of love uplifts my soul, giving me courage to look at my complete self and be more than pleased, but grateful.
21st century women: access to gym, over-exposure to high fashion culture, eating disorders, food culture, work-out obsessions, men-pleasing, sex.
There are quite a few debilitating expectations that many women, again, including myself, re perpetuate in our daily and at times, hidden, behaviors; thus, re-affirming the very bar that society places on a beautiful women. Furthermore, we exacerbate these stereotypes by not speaking of them. Though this should not be permissible because of the prevalence of the issue among most women, it is understandable. Most my girlfriends have more daunting and pressing needs to address—job? men? finances? school? confidence? Also, for me, I rather not discuss my body image issues because I consider it a middle school phase. When I talk about body image, I feel like a dog returning to its own vomit. Didn’t I already deal with this when I first got hips?
However, when I look at the behavior and listen to the conversations with my girlfriends…we are all dealing with it.
You’re probably wondering why I am ranting on this. Well, I went to the gym. As I was working out, I looked at all the women and wondered how many of them were there to “look good.” It broke me to even look at myself. Vanity is so subtle, but can eat you inside out. Vanity and insecurity are married in some sense.
Lately I been asking God to teach me to love myself more. In response, he has been telling me that one of the first steps is to love my body EVERY DAY, in whatever phase of my weight fluctuations. Now, I feel like he wants me to share it. I rather not press the “create post” button because I consider myself a woman who desires to be portrayed as strong and confident. However, God is telling me a new thing: in my weakness, he is strong.
Hopefully this was able to just bless a woman today. You’re not the only one hiding your insecurities of the “conventional body image issue for women.” It’s me too. And many others.
Now let’s step forward together and just love ourselves because our Creator is so beautiful and pristine, creating only what is good—women.
been a while since i written
been a while since i written
living in a song that’s unwritten
a song that can’t be written.
Yesterday, one of my students hit another student. I walk in and a student is crying, while the other student is glaring at his computer with a stoic frustration. One of the younger girls screams that he hit the boy for no reason, I knew there was a reason. I slept four hours the night before and was in a minor delirium from the cup of coffee I drank on my way to work. In that instance, I am pounding on the doors of my own eyes, pleading that my conscious wake up.
I took the boy who hit the student into a separate room to talk with him, or more so, rebuke. As I was scolding the boy, I saw tears glazing his eyes. I was trapt. This kid has a habit of pushing people away and creating silos where he is forced to be alone. Usually, I have little patience for his antics because his barricades are cemented, so I don’t try to budge them. Yet, this day, I saw him on the verge of breaking, inching his way slowly to the gates of his high walls, hands reaching towards an opening and eyes peering to the outside.
I leave the room and asked the children what had happened. They all yell different stories, but end up saying that one of the students said that the student (who got hit) called the boy fat. So the boy hit him. I instantly understood the situation. But understanding was not enough. I walk back into the room not confident in my approach to displaying balance of love and discipline.
I tried building a bridge. I told him that I wanted to be there for him; he burnt it down. He told me that he didn’t know what I was talking about. I told him that I see him, setting himself a part, pushing the teachers and other students away from him. I told him that I wanted to be there for him. There was a huge chasm that separated us, so I reached out my hand; he turned away. He said he didn’t know what I was talking about.
In my heart, I felt a kindling flame, a revisiting of an old love that I was once acquainted with in my earlier years as an adolescent. I wanted to give it to him. I wanted so bad to give it to him. The room felt smaller. I felt a swelling within the room, an aroma reminiscent of fire burning wood in winter. I walked out the room, and closed the door behind me. By this time, the headmaster was on her way in to talk with the boy. The chasm felt wider than before, the walls higher. But the fire within my heart, was burning.
I saw my soul become flesh breaking open
the linseed oil breaking over the paper
running down pouring
no one to catch it my life breaking open
no one to contain it my
pelvis thinning out into God
There is no poetry left in me that belongs to you,
the one I wrote this summer has become lost
within the stash of archives
Rain, Weddings, and Los Angeles
The sun slowly lays down between the cityscape a far, parting from the grungy fog that is still apparent in 6pm evenings. As my mom and I drive to Koreatown, passing through Montebello, I reminisce of my early adolescent years gazing into Los Angeles and wondering where I came from and why we left. My parents arrived in Koreatown one month after they got married. Tonight there was a tinge of romance accompanying us on the drive; Though Christmas is near, I do not blame this warm atmosphere on the holiday seasons, but rather the rain.
Ever since I entered college, or early womanhood, my mom reminds me that rainy days are signs of good luck. As the sprinkles drizzle on our window, I think of her in a modest white gown, lace covering the dents of her collarbones and chisels of her shoulders. I know her face was glowing from the dampness of the air, awaiting her moment of awakening to a new self, joined with her husband, my father, who entered into matrimony with the same humility of the marriage itself, triumphing in the rain—a climate most resist and dread.
My hands are still clenching her hands, our fingers intertwined and anchored. The sweat is bothersome, but the bind is so securing and affirming. It has been six to seven years since my last boyfriend. I am no longer haunted by my own prior deceit, but I will never forget the sense of exploitation that has forever kept me as a guard of my own heart.
My mom is only 57 years of age. Looking at her profile, I am drawn to how the corners of her eyes pinch in like mine. Her hair curls right above her cheekbone as mine does. The rain drops have begun to slap the window in a slightly quicker rhythm. My ipod plays an old Hillsong’s track, which brought an overcoming heaviness of a feeling that was uncontainable. I release her hands and tie my hair as a scapegoat.
It probably smelled like wet cement that day. Her skin always looked good damp. The edge of her dress probably dragged and got wet; she must have been concerned about the extra fees that would be charged when she returns it. Guests most likely woke up that morning feeling sorry for my parents because the rainy day intruded on their wedding. I remember on my cousin’s wedding, she cried because of the rain. My mom probably thanked the Lord for the shower. My dad probably cupped his hands and tried to catch every rain drop that would fall on the ground on the day he was to marry my mom. They probably kissed in the rain, not the kind with passion and zeal, but one that signifies longevity.
It’s raining in Los Angeles tonight; the car, the soles of my shoes, my bangs, our house, our mailbox and the ground of the city are all wet with rain.
Your hands are exactly what I imagined them to look like, veins running like rivers down from your forearm to your knuckles, worn and used. Your hands have yet to hold mine, but I imagine mine would at first fit awkwardly into yours, but after some moments of our warmth, they would manage to link in a way unique to their own. My mom has always told me that I have a villager’s hands, ones that appear to have dug deep into dirt, rather than salvaged from the sun and preserved in warm rooms flipping pages of a book. Your hands are like mine, those that belong to workers.
You were supposed to be much shorter and thicker in the arms, broader in the shoulders. I expected someone less assertive and more of a quiet leadership, but you are so loud and opinionated. You are much more handsome than the men I have dated in the past. You have no eye for the aesthetics of art nor a keen fashion sense; you still wear black and white converse with unfitted jeans. Last time, you told me my poems are simply nice. When asked what you assumed the poem meant, you stuttered in your response. You stutter often when you speak. I would not say that you know all my facets and personalities nor catch my nuances and subtle humor. Yet, you are the first man that has not mused over me and defined me as one of your ideas. You are the first one that has not stared at me with intrigue.
It is fine that you do not know all of me; I do not expect you to. Most have assumed that position and have later realized their failure; do not assume that I will perfectly fit into your hands because I won’t—give me some time to warm up. It is fine that you do not understand me, or at least for now. When I look at you, you are much different from what I expected; I like you because you are much different from what I expected. Except your hands, they look like mine and my fathers’, belonging to workers, faithful.
Hold my hand, steady. And you do not even have to tell me that you will stay; you don’t have to tell me promises for me to believe, just hold our home in your palms, steady, and I will believe.